The busy day was marked by a very rare display of snow in the morning, an occurrence that added to the uniqueness of the occasion. Historians could count snow sightings on campus with one hand—an especially memorable one was a storm in 1965. There was so much snow, students could ski down Administration Hill. Wednesday got just a dusting, though no less exciting—especially for Redlands students who have never seen snow before, such as first-year Angelina Parisi ’25 who was eager to get a picture.
- Tents on the Redlands Lawn and Chapel Drive
The anticipation for Wednesday’s celebrations was building for days, and the morning of President Krista Newkirk’s inauguration, the campus was abuzz with excitement. Party tents were set up at either end of the Quad to host the evening festivities. To allow for easy travel between the tents and Chapel, the side streets in front of residence halls were closed off, requiring students to park their cars elsewhere. Later that evening, sections of Colton Avenue were blocked as well.
- Student organizations processing on the Quad
Before the Inauguration ceremony, I saw smiling students in business attire preparing to attend the ceremony together as representatives of athletic teams, student organizations, Greek life, and academic clubs. As other students went to classes— myself included— visitors flowed toward the Chapel to watch the ceremony.
- The Inauguration ceremony
The ceremony was chock-full of speakers and performances, including a few lovely songs from the Redlands choir that gave me goosebumps even as I watched the livestream. I particularly enjoyed hearing from ASUR President Chloe Levine '22, as a representative of the student body, talk about her first impressions of President Newkirk.
- Addie in a dress!
Snorting happily, Addie visited some of the residence halls during the day to greet students. At Founders Hall, Daria Santana ’23 ran excitedly to say hello to the University’s mascot and even got a chance to pet her.
- Sunshine at noon
The sun came out just in time for students, faculty, and alumni to gather outside the Glenn Wallichs Theatre for lunch from In-N-Out and Lime food trucks. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to eat a burger, but the food trucks were a fun fast-food treat from the usual on-campus dining options.
- The first-ever REDtalks
At the Wallichs Theatre, I saw many people talking and laughing at the tables on the patio, enjoying the moments of sunshine and the jovial attitude of the day. A blend of guests spread out to watch the series of talks given by various university affiliates; the event was hosted by alumnus Evan Sanford ’17. As the talks began, people continued to trickle into the theatre and seats filled up quickly, as audiences were eager to listen to the insights offered by speakers throughout the event.
- Accessible options to take part in the celebration
The University made the event available to a wider audience by offering a livestream recording of the Inauguration ceremony and the REDtalks for anyone who couldn’t attend in person. (They’re also available online for those who just want to listen to them a second time.) Speakers captured people’s interest with humorous anecdotes, advice, and encouragement. Alumnus Mike Barker ’15, for example, offered helpful tips on personal branding and why it’s important. The theme of the day revolved around the strength of the Redlands community and optimism for its continued success and growth.
- An epic dessert bar!
The evening continued at night with live music and refreshments on the Quad. The party featured a dessert bar, complete with build-your-own s’mores and cheesecake stations, which were very popular among the guests. I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw the table piled with licorice, chocolates, and lollipops.
- Live music
The open tent was noisy with cheerful conversations and live music from the Los Angeles-based band LoveStoned, who performed a mix of both new and old classics, like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean.” The dance floor, bathed in colorful lights, was crowded with students, staff, and faculty cutting up the proverbial rug. I spied President Newkirk in a sparkling red gown, dancing unreservedly with students until the event ended.
- A lit-up sky
To everyone’s delight and after a little technical difficulty, there was a light show of shapes—Addie’s face, the Redlands “R”—assembled by programmed drones; the display of Redlands spirit was an innovative alternative for fireworks and drew the eyes of all the partygoers. After a warm round of applause, the dancing and merriment continued for several more hours and could be heard all over the campus; it ended the day with the same excitement as it started.
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